Ash Wednesday (1973)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  1 November 1973 (USA)
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Reviews: 10 user | 11 critic

Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark,... See full summary »


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Sawyer
Keith Baxter ...
Maurice Teynac ...
Doctor Lambert
Kate Sawyer
Monique van Vooren ...
German Woman
Henning Schlüter ...
Bridge Player
Dino Mele ...
Kathy Van Lypps ...
Dina Sassoli ...
Nurse Ilse
Carlo Puri ...
Andrea Esterhazy ...
Comte d'Arnoud
Jill Pratt ...
Irina Wassilchikoff ...
Silvano del Campo


Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark, and begins getting attention from young men. Her daughter tries to warn her that even though she has had the surgery it might be too late for her marriage, but she clings to the hope that Mark will come back once he sees her new look. Meanwhile, she must decide whether or not have an affair with a young man she's met. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Surgery took years off her face. But can it save her marriage? See more »


Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Rivalin  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Elizabeth Taylor's husband at time, Richard Burton, thought the film was horrible and damaging to his wife's career, according to letters released for auction in 2004. "I sit here vulgarised by the idea that my wife is doing; violently against my 'taste'; a f - - - lousy nothing bloody film," he wrote in a 1973 letter to two employees. He continued "[Taylor's] singular acceptance of this film is because she wants to remain a famous film star. What the stupid (occasionally) maniac doesn't realise is that she is already immortalised (as a film person) forever." See more »


Written by Heinz Roemheld (as Roemheld) and Mitchell Parish (as Parish)
Performed by Ray Charles
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User Reviews

Like "Shirley Valentine" but dramatic...and pretty good.
18 November 2003 | by (Illinois, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Obviously, this sight recommends "Breast Men" as a suitable companion piece to this because of the cosmetic surgery angle. (I don't watch similar films together anyway.) To me, it is much more akin in spirit to "Shirley Valentine." Woman estranged from her husband in foreign country amidst beautiful scenery, a change of life, etc. For once, a woman having a co-star old enough to be her father actually works with the script! Taylor's acting here is more subtle than it had been in the previous decade, and it works. I could not relate to a woman who goes to such lengths for her husbands affection, but she is playing a woman of a bygone era, and almost twenty years older than she was at the time (the woman playing her daughter could easily have played her sister in another film). This is a very slowly paced film, but by golly you can't help but root for Taylor to find some solace, just like Shirley V. All of this leads up to an inevitable confrontation with her husband, and the movie keeps you guessing to the end what will happen between them. Was it worth it? I won't tell. Knowing what we now know about the kind of father and husband Henry Fonda was in real life can't help but taint the viewing of him in this role. But hey, they could've gotten Bing Crosby. All in all, I saw this movie on video about nine years ago, and as you can see it has stayed with me. So check it out, it beats the heck out of anything on Lifetime.

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